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Physics and Astronomy PhD Programs to Avoid: University of Pittsburgh


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Pitt physics student here. Be wary about applying to this PhD program. Academically the program is strong but the climate is abysmal, the department is not run well, and many of the department people don't think there is a problem. Research opportunities are a nightmare to find because some professors drag students along without ever saying yes or no to undergrads or grads. Good research opportunities are scarce, some professors do not have any students and are looking for students, there is a reason they have no students. Women and minorities, prepare to be treated awfully and gaslighted. The department has a lot of work to do to be more inclusive for minority groups, and overall this work is not being done. Some professors are not bad, some are trying to do the work to make the department better, but it is not enough. White males, you might be fine here. Pitt undergrads should apply here, they have good odds of getting admitted.

A post from a student that applied to Pitt last year: 'I put a lot of effort into applying to University of Pittsburgh, and after submitting my app emailed a professor I was interested in. His response the next day was that the department isn’t even accepting astrophysics/cosmology students (which is my field)!! it was free for domestic applicants, but international students are still paying $75. I searched their website and nowhere is this listed. It feels immoral to me that the school would charge money for students to apply, then the department rejects them because of a research interest which their website clearly advertises.'

If you want to apply, first email professors in your field and see if they are accepting students in your field. If you are admitted, be wary about accepting the offer, and get in touch with as many other students as you can to decide.

Let's look out for each other. What other PhD programs should be avoided?

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